A group of five Common Crane on Meneou Pool (distant photo below) and ten seen migrating from the main Salt Lake were the highlights of the waterbird count around Larnaca today. Also of interest were a Common Pochard, more than 20 Northern Pintail, 11 Ferruginous Duck, two Sanderling, large flocks of White Wagtail with a few Yellow Wagtail and Red-throated Pipit with them, more than 50 Spur-winged Lapwing in the area, two Whiskered Tern, a Black-necked Grebe and a lone European Bee-eater.
Peter, Pat, Paul and Janet were staying in Nicosia so we had a bit of a drive before we could start our morning’s birding. We headed to Achna Dam where water levels are still good and where I had seen some good birds on a trip there last week. We spent some time there getting good views of three Great White Egret, an immature Whiskered Tern, a Common Kingfisher and two Northern Pintail. A group of five Glossy Ibis feeding on the far shore left the area after a while – probably continuing their migration south. Ten newly arrived Northern Lapwing flew into the area from the north. Several Cattle and Little Egret and Grey Heron were also present and a couple of Willow Warbler were feeding in the shorter reeds. As we returned to the car we spotted two Dunlin, a Little Stint and a Little Ringed Plover feeding in a muddy area. A juvenile Western Marsh Harrier was quartering the area and we saw it fly up from the ground with something in its talons. Unfortunately although we heard several European Bee-eater flying over the area they were too high for us to see.
We searched the rocky beach at Ormedeia for a Greater Sandplover but had no joy so we had to make do with a single Kentish Plover and three more Northern Lapwing. A quick stop at Oroklini Marsh enabled us to see a large group of almost forty Spur-winged Lapwing as well as a couple of Common Redshank, a Little Ringed Plover and a Ruff.
We finished our morning driving through the valley of Panagia Stazousa as we headed back to Nicosia. We were hoping that there would still be some Cyprus Wheatear around and we were not disappointed. At least four were still present and dutifully obliged by sitting out in the open on the top of low bushes. While watching one of them we spotted a juvenile Red-backed Shrike and when it flew further away we were pleased to also see a juvenile Masked Shrike in another bush. Several Whinchat were seen resting as they migrated through the island. We also had brief views of a Spotted Flycatcher and a female Eurasian Blackcap but a female Common Redstart was more co-operative and sat low in a shrub enabling us to watch her through the telescope. An unexpected bird to finish the morning on. A morning on which we managed to see a good variety of species – a few more than I had anticipated.
Total species – 40
Northern Pintail, Little Grebe, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Coot, Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Northern Lapwing, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Dunlin, Little Stint, Common Redshank, Whiskered Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, European Bee-eater (h), Common Kingfisher, Common Kestrel, Red-backed Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Hooded Crow, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, White Wagtail, European Goldfinch
Some early morning birding around Larnaca this weekend. Autumn migration definitely winding down and winter visitors just starting to show.
Some of the more interesting sightings were:
Larnaca Desalination Fields
Northern Wheatear 1
Yellow Wagtail 9
Red-backed Shrike 1 juv
Black Francolin 2
Larnaca Sewage Works
Northern Pintail 6
Greater Flamingo 17
Spur-winged Lapwing c30
Ferruginous Duck 7
Great Cormorant 1
Collared Pratincole 5
Whiskered Tern 1
Eurasian Golden Plover 1
Black-winged Stilt 2
Black-necked Grebe 1
Dunlin, Little Stint, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Mallard
Eurasian Thick-knee 19
European Bee-eater 3
Red-backed Shrike 2 juv
Dunlin 1 on beach
Red-rumped Swallow 4
European Bee-eater 26
Sand Martin 1
Cattle Egret 7
Whiskered Tern 1 imm perched on watering equipment
Greater Short-toed Lark 3
Yellow Wagtail 5
Common Buzzard 1 flew SW
Cyprus Wheatear 6
European Stonechat 1m
Northern Wheatear 1
Cyprus Warbler 1 singing male plus one other
Kamares area of Salt Lake
Laughing Dove 1
Common Kingfisher 2
Common Snipe 1
Spur-winged Lapwing 4
Little Egret 4
David, Diane and I spent the day out birding around Larnaca visiting Achna Dam, Ormeidia, Oroklini, Larnaca Sewage Works area, Pervolia, Kivisili and Panagia Stazousa. We had a good selection of species including Greater Sandplover, the endemic Cyprus Wheatear and Cyprus Warbler, White-winged and Whiskered Tern, Red-footed Falcon, Montagu’s Harrier, Ferruginous Duck, Chukar and Spur-winged Lapwing.
Highlights per location:
Achna Dam – Squacco Heron, Great White Egret, Little Ringed Plover, Common Snipe, Whiskered Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, European Bee-eater, Common Kingfisher
Ormedeia Beach – Greater Sandplover, Kentish Plover, Whinchat, European Shag
Oroklini – Little Ringed Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Northern Lapwing
Meneou Pool – Eurasian Thick-knee, Masked Shrike
Larnaca Sewage Works area – Ferruginous Duck, Northern Pintail, Greater Flamingo, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Curlew, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, White-winged Tern (inc 1 in breeding plumage), Whiskered Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, Red-backed Shrike, Sand Martin, Spotted Flycatcher, Western Yellow Wagtail
Pervolia area – Montagu’s Harrier 1 juv, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin, Tawny Pipit, Northern Wheatear
Kivisilli fields – Common Hoopoe 1, Red-footed Falcon 1 juv, Tree Pipit, Northern Wheatear, Whinchat
Panagia Stazousa – Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, European Stonechat, European Bee-eater
Total number of species seen – 74
Chukar, Ferruginous Duck, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Great White Egret, Little Egret, European Shag, Eurasian Thick-knee, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Greater Sandplover, Northern Lapwing, Spur-winged Lapwing, Eurasian Curlew, Ruff, Dunlin, Little Stint, Common Snipe, Common Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Common Hoopoe, European Bee-eater, Common Kingfisher, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Western Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, European Greenfinch
A record photo of one of four Gull-billed Terns at the Sewage Pools this morning. Three other tern species also present – seven Little Tern, one Whiskered and one White-winged Tern. Black-winged Stilt and Spur-winged Lapwing had chicks of varying sizes. On the water there were five Ferruginous Ducks in with the Mallard and around the edge there was a Little Ringed Plover, a Common and Green Sandpiper and some Kentish Plover. I only saw the best bird as I drove up to the hide – a Osprey was being chased over the area by Hooded Crows and heading east. A juvenile had been reported there towards the end of June and I guess it may well be the same bird.
Did a couple of Common Bird Monitoring Surveys in the Cape Greco area and then stopped off at Oroklini Marsh on the way home. Several Cyprus Warblers and a singing male Black-headed Bunting on territories at Cape Greco with Long-legged Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon and Eleonora’s Falcon fly overs. A Whiskered Tern was on Oroklini Marsh as were several Black-winged Stilt (see photo), plenty of Cattle Egret, a few Ruff and some Spur-winged Lapwing.
This year a day out in mid-May means finding very few passerine migrants, the need to concentrate on breeding birds and visiting a wetland to increase the variety of species seen. Luckily Robert had a list of realistic target species which made our day easier although we had to work hard to find the Black-headed Wagtail. The other species Robert hoped to see were Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, Black Francolin, Chukar, Little Owl, Spur-winged Lapwing and Masked Shrike.
Starting at Cape Greco, the first bird we saw was a singing male Cyprus Warbler which was a great start. We explored the area and found another two males and two females together with a couple of juveniles. We soon heard the distinctive call of the Cyprus Wheatear and spotted a singing male on a low bush. Several others were later seen as were a couple of European Turtle Dove, a Spectacled Warbler, a male and female Red-backed Shrike as well as a couple of Sand Martin. A couple of Black-headed Buntings were singing near the Sea Caves area where we also found our only Chukar of the day.
We then headed to Akhna Dam where several Spur-winged Lapwing were found as was a male Garganey, a couple of Ruff and Common Sandpiper, some Little Egret, a Grey Heron and a Glossy Ibis. Several Eurasian Reed Warbler were heard singing and a flock of around 30 Common Swift and seven Alpine Swift were flying over the area and coming down to drink – a great sight. We visited both hides at Oroklini and Robert got great views of another of his targets here – this time a male Black Francolin was out in the open calling for quite a while. We also saw more Spur-winged Lapwing here as well as Black-winged Stilt, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Little, Whiskered and White-winged Tern and Garganey. There were several recently hatched young Cattle Egret in the colony and we also spotted a Spur-winged Lapwing chick with one of its parents.
We then went inland to Panagia Stazousa to try and find a Masked Shrike and a Little Owl. We found the Little Owl perched outside its nest site but it took a while to find a Masked Shrike until eventually a male flew into view. We also saw more Cyprus Warbler and Cyprus Wheatear as well as Olivaceous Warbler, a European Roller, a fly-over Eurasian Hobby and two Long-legged Buzzard. We heard Cretzschmar’s Bunting but couldn’t get decent views of them.
Our next stop was on the eastern side of Larnaca Salt Lake where there was still some water and I was hoping may be a suitable location for the feldegg race of the Yellow Wagtail – Black-headed Wagtail. We found some water and the bonus of three Broad-billed Sandpiper (a regular but scarce passage migrant to Cyprus) feeding with Black-winged Stilt, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper and some stunning Curlew Sandpiper. A Squacco Heron was also present and we heard the call of a Yellow Wagtail and saw a couple fly over but were unable to see which race they were. Finally, a male Blue-headed was spotted feeding next to some reeds and then to its right there was a male Black-headed. All of the target species seen we went south of the airport to see what was on the Sewage Pools there. There were several Little Tern and a couple of White-winged Tern as well as two Yellow-legged Gull, some Spur-winged Lapwing and several Ruff. New birds for the day were a single Gull-billed Tern feeding over the water and a Collared Pratincole which we saw head out towards the coast.
We finished our day there pleased with our efforts.
Total species seen 66
Chukar, Black Francolin, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Glossy Ibis, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Collared Pratincole, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Tern, Little Owl, Long-legged Buzzard, European Roller, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, Red-backed Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Olivaceous Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Northern House Martin, Barn Swallow, Collared Sand Martin, Cetti’s Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Blue-headed Wagtail, Black-headed Wagtail, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Black-headed Bunting, Cretzschmar’s Bunting
The first guided trip of 2017 was a morning around two of the Nicosia birding spots. Josh and Toni were hoping to see Finsch’s Wheatear and Blue Rock Thrush so we headed straight to Agios Sozomenos where we had a good chance of both. Entering the area we had good views of Zitting Cisticola and heard and saw a singing Corn Bunting in the distance. We stopped to scan the area for Finsch’s Wheatear and as we saw a flash of white wheatear rump fly off, a brown bird started singing on the top of a thorny bush. We were pleased to see that it was a Bluethroat which very obligingly sat out in the open for several minutes. A Spectacled Warbler and several Chiffchaffs flitted in and out of the bush at the same time. When the Bluethroat flew off we searched again for the Finsch’s Wheatear but no joy. We moved along the road and a grey-brown bird flew across the rocks – a female Finsch’s Wheatear. We stopped and watched her and then continued around the corner where we came across a male Finsch’s Wheatear. One of our two target species seen and well watched. We returned to the deserted village where two Long-legged Buzzard and a Peregrine Falcon treated us to fly-bys.
In the fields, we found plenty of Meadow Pipit, Zitting Cisticola, Common Stonechat and a large flock of noisy European Serin that sat obligingly in a small tree next to the track. We watched a male Spanish Sparrow feeding while others flitted unseen between the bushes. Large flocks of the resident Western Jackdaw flew over the area. As we had not managed to find the Blue Rock Thrush we decided to spend a little longer re checking the cliffs and rocks. Still no joy with that species although we found the male Finsch’s Wheatear we had missed earlier (minus the Bluethroat this ime) and then, best of all – a pair of adult Bonelli’s Eagle that treated us to an aerial display for at least ten minutes. The highlight of the morning.
Moving on to Athalassa Dam we found most of the expected waterfowl including a Ferruginous Duck and six Tufted Duck (scarce for Cyprus). Here the highlights were three adult and two immature Black-crowned Night Heron and the unseasonal Whiskered Tern that has been in the area for most of the winter. A great morning out with a good list of species for a January morning out away from the coast, and thanks to Josh and Toni for their company.
Total number of species: 45
Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, Black-crowned Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Ferruginous Duck, Tufted Duck, Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Common Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Whiskered Tern, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, European Robin, Bluethroat, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Finsch’s Wheatear, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Corn Bunting.
Once again some good birds in Nicosia; this time at Athalassa Dam where highlights were ten Tufted Duck, a Black-necked Grebe and two fishing Whiskered Terns (unusual for January, they are usually passage migrants through Cyprus).
Main birds seen:
Black-crowned Night Heron 2 ad
Cattle Egret 1
Little Egret 2
Grey Heron 3
Great Cormorant 2
Black-necked Grebe 1
Common Pochard 1m
Ferruginous Duck 3
Tufted Duck 10 (inc 4 males)
Grey Wagtail 2
Eurasian Blackbird 2m
Whiskered Tern 2
Northern Shoveler c80
Eurasian Teal c50
Common Chiffchaff 20+
A first winter Whiskered Tern was on my local Nicosia patch this morning.
Apart from the usual Mallards, Little Grebe and Eurasian Coot, there was a Whiskered and a White-winged Tern at the Sewage Pools as well as breeding Spur-winged Lapwing, the long-staying Ruddy Shelduck and two Ferruginous Duck. A small group of Kentish Plover flew in while I was there. The majority of bird life on the main Salt Lake was in the north east corner where I found more breeding Spur-winged Lapwing, some Black-winged Stilt, a Grey Heron, two Little Egret, two Cattle Egret and a Squacco Heron. A pair of Black-headed Wagtail were at Spiros Pool and the reeds near the Kamares aqueduct were full of Eurasian Reed Warbler families.